Language Flexiblility

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Language Flexiblility

Post by White Phoenix »

I am completely frustrated because changing or adding languages in any OS seems to be geared towards changing the locale of the system which affects the menus, etc. To top it off, the foreign language program that I am trying to use still doesn’t change the text inside the program.

Has it ever occurred to developers that a user might want to be able to use foreign languages just for the applications instead of the entire system?
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Re: Language Flexablility

Post by Cosmo. »

What do you expect? An auto-translation feature for your documents? Or language-mix, where parts of the GUI appear in English, another part in your language?
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Re: Language Flexiblility

Post by xenopeek »

White Phoenix wrote:Has it ever occurred to developers that a user might want to be able to use foreign languages just for the applications instead of the entire system?
Yes. You can set the environment variable LANG for one program to the language you want that program to use (assuming a translation to that language is available for that program). You can check with the command locale how LANG is set by default. You can check with locale -a what other options are available on your system. (And you can install additional languages in the Languages program in your menu, to add to those options.)

For example I have an English installation of Linux Mint but have also added the Dutch language. I can run the command LANG=nl_NL.utf8 gedit to start Gedit in Dutch (NL is the language code for Dutch; "nl_NL.utf8" found with the locale -a command).

Now you probably want this added to your menu launcher instead. For that edit your menu (all Linux Mint editions come with a menu editor, usually accessed through right-click on the menu button) and for example go to the Gedit launcher and access its properties and change the command from gedit %U to bash -c 'LANG=nl_NL.utf8 gedit %U'. You will likely need to log out and log back in to activate the change in your menu.

Perhaps you mean something differently?
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Re: Language Flexiblility

Post by Pjotr »

Another simple solution: create a user account for each language you want to use, and set the locale for each dedicated user account.
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Re: Language Flexiblility

Post by White Phoenix »

I didn’t know about the suggestion you made, Xenopeek. I will try that. It is mostly for games and some art programs, but if any program runs on Linux, creating a link to have it run under another language (I have several loaded) should work.

Pjotr, I had thought of that, but the programs wouldn’t display the characters properly until I wound up changing for the entire system. That was with windows, for some reason I could never get Linux to change to the Japanese locale. So I gave up on that.

Too bad there isn’t some way to just have the entire system use Unicode. It seems to me that then, it wouldn’t matter what language the application was in, it would display properly without special settings.
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Re: Language Flexiblility

Post by xenopeek »

White Phoenix wrote:Too bad there isn’t some way to just have the entire system use Unicode. It seems to me that then, it wouldn’t matter what language the application was in, it would display properly without special settings.
This is a weird observation. Of course Linux uses Unicode. IIRC, Linux Mint 17.3 comes with the Noto fonts installed which cover almost all languages so there should be no problem with displaying characters from all languages.

It sounds like you have some very poorly written programs. Normally a program will have a default language it will use if the system's language (or as set with LANG environment variable) isn't available as a translation for that program. In addition it can have zero or more translations for other languages. You should not need to set the Japanese locale in order to be able to use a program that is only available in Japanese. Properly programmed, Japanese would be the default language for that program if that was the only language the program is available in and it would fall back on that if the system's language wasn't Japanese.

I'm now doubting we're talking about the same thing. Do you mean display language or input language? The above is all about display language. To change input language you'd install and use IBus. The exact steps might differ a bit depending on which version of Linux Mint and which desktop environment you are using (which you didn't share), but here are the general steps for Linux Mint 17.x using Xfce (the most recent topic I could find where I covered this): http://forum.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.ph ... 5#p1012979
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Re: Language Flexiblility

Post by White Phoenix »

Yes, I am talking about the display language. In fact, even though gEdit and Pluma have an option to select the language of the file, the language doesn’t show up on the drop down for me to select it. (See screen shot)

IBus is installed, but I received an error message that it could not work within 5 seconds. Well, if it’s input only, I don’t really have too much problem with that since I just use cut and paste, or the character map. When I am in OpenOffice, I have the Autocorrect setup to enter foreign characters. It would be nice if I could directly type from the keyboard somehow. For that I am looking into the possibility of creating a keyboard map. Which I will need to do manually since XKeyCaps installed, but doesn’t show up anywhere on the main menu or in a context menu. I plan to duplicate the keyboard layout I created in Windows using the Microsoft app. Then see if I can expand on that to enable entering in kana and other foreign letters since AutoHotKey doesn’t work on Linux to create a system-wide autocorrect and there is no Linux equivalent other than using XModMap.

Initially, I didn’t share my desktop environment or Linux version because it seemed to me to be irrelevant. This is a problem that occurs with both Linux and Windows (ever since 3.1) and so seems to be a problem of OS design in general. LInux Mint 17, Mate.
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Re: Language Flexiblility

Post by Cosmo. »

The language selector is for the spellchecker. I think you opened it from the tools menu.
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Re: Language Flexiblility

Post by White Phoenix »

Yeah, that figures. Guess someone didn’t think that an option for the spell checker should be accessed through the spell checker. Either that, or specify that it is for the spell checker and not the file.

So that means there is no way to tell gEdit or Pluma what language the file is in so they can use the correct code page?
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Re: Language Flexiblility

Post by xenopeek »

Documents are unicode by default, and can thus contain characters from all languages. You don't need to set code pages.
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Re: Language Flexiblility

Post by White Phoenix »

xenopeek wrote:Documents are unicode by default, and can thus contain characters from all languages. You don't need to set code pages.
Then why do text files like the one in the screenshot written in Japanese wind up gibberish, if all documents are Unicode by default? If that text file was in Unicode then instead of gibberish that text file would have shown the proper Japanese characters.
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Re: Language Flexiblility

Post by LinuxJim »

xenopeek wrote:Documents are unicode by default, and can thus contain characters from all languages. You don't need to set code pages.
I think you mean locally *created* documents, not documents imported from an external source.

Correct?

For example, if I have an old, 7-bit ASCII text file that was created on a Japanese system with code page 932, I wouldn't expect it to display correctly when converted to Unicode unless I had some way to tell the system that it was created with code page 932.
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Re: Language Flexiblility

Post by xenopeek »

LinuxJim wrote:I think you mean locally *created* documents, not documents imported from an external source.

Correct?
Yes, correct.

Apologies to OP if I take too much knowledge for granted. Documents you create on Linux Mint, with the default software, are by default created as Unicode and can contain characters from any language. Documents taken from or created elsewhere may (still) be using legacy character sets.

If auto-detecting of the legacy character set doesn't work correctly for a document you can try to set it manually in Gedit when you open a file (there is an option for the character set in the open file dialog window).
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Re: Language Flexiblility

Post by White Phoenix »

To top it off, the foreign language program that I am trying to use still doesn’t change the text inside the program.
I guess what I should have written is that the system still doesn’t change the text inside the program.

Another point I failed to bring up is that I have found that in order for the programs/documents to come out properly, they have to be downloaded and/or unzipped or installed in an environment that uses the language of the program/document. For this part of the problem, I have a dedicated account for the foreign language I use the most (Japanese) and download and unzip or install the programs from there. Although I do have to put up with all of the slashes in the path names being changed to yen symbols.

Of course, this only affects Windows. I haven’t been able to set up an account like this for Linux yet. Somehow the system won’t allow me to do it, no matter if I am the administrator or not. I suppose there might be a way to do it from the command line as root, but as I do not have enough experience with Linux, I would rather not. Also all of this fiddling with the system is time-consuming and unproductive. I just want to work on my projects and finish them. Not screw with settings on my computer.

Even then you still have applications that you need to run with the system completely changed to the original language of the program. Unfortunately, neither Windows or Linux can go this far without changing the entire system in all accounts to the one language. There should be some way to have the language settings affect only the program that has been written in a language other than the system default.

In this case, Windows has done a better job of it than Linux, but still not perfect.
If auto-detecting of the legacy character set doesn't work correctly for a document you can try to set it manually in Gedit when you open a file (there is an option for the character set in the open file dialog window).
Aha! I never thought to investigate the drop-down menu. Too many years of Notepad. This even works in Pluma. I added Japanese code pages to the default list on both editors. I tested a couple of Japanese text files and if the Japanese code page that was first on the list didn’t work, it prompted me to select one that did. Thank you for pointing that out, Xenopeek. This may solve my problem with Karen’s Directory Printer on Windows as well. I made gEdit my default text editor on the Windows side. Whenever it comes to a foreign character set in a file or folder name, Directory Printer usually substitutes question marks. Although I thought the problem had been solved once before (without knowing why), but when I opened one of the files thinking it was okay, the foreign file names were still gibberish. I was planning to experiment and see what was going on and if I could use gEdit to somehow fix the file before saving it. Now, if Directory Printer uses gEdit instead of Notepad, I may have found how to fix that.
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Re: Language Flexiblility

Post by xenopeek »

White Phoenix wrote:Even then you still have applications that you need to run with the system completely changed to the original language of the program. Unfortunately, neither Windows or Linux can go this far without changing the entire system in all accounts to the one language. There should be some way to have the language settings affect only the program that has been written in a language other than the system default.
Isn't that what I showed in earlier post posting.php?mode=reply&f=29&t=219547#pr1150905. You probably should set LANG to the available locale that matches with the Japanese locale you had to set in Gedit as well. The program is likely not using Unicode either and would need a LANG set not with a *.utf8 locale but with the correct legacy character set. You may also try LANG=C programname as command, to launch programname with the default C locale which perhaps the program does implement correctly.

I must fault the programmer of the software if it requires legacy character sets to be used. There's no reason not to use Unicode since many years ago. Is this perhaps very old software? Is it even software for Linux?
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Re: Language Flexiblility

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The programs aren’t that old, at least they were released during this century. While most is not made specifically for Linux, some of it can be run on Linux. A couple of them will run under WINE. Mostly these programs need Windows, they refuse to run under WINE. But the language problem is the same for both Windows and Linux. Besides, even if they were Linux programs, most of them would only be available in Mint’s Software Manager as very old versions. So it isn’t like there would be anything that could be done about how old they are anyway.

I don’t mind creating a separate user account just for foreign languages, but it just seems that I should be able to do just that without having to make changes that affect the entire system. On Windows I set up the one account for Japanese but unless I opt to set the entire system as if I were located in Japan, much of the text is still garbled. The best I can do is make sure my normal account is set for English, which works except for little things like the slashes being changed to yen symbols in the path names. I suspect that if I could create a user account on Linux (It’s been a year since I last tried), I would get the same results.

On the other hand, if people would create similar programs in English and for Linux, that would be nice too... and charge for them. If I am paying money for these programs that I have to use special settings, environment and Windows to use them, then I would certainly pay to have the current versions of applications in English and for Linux.
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Re: Language Flexiblility

Post by xenopeek »

Which programs are you specifically talking about? What to they do that is so special?
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Re: Language Flexiblility

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Sorry I didn’t reply before this, but you wanted a list of the programs I would like to see in Linux. I made a list and posted on this forum before, but its probably buried deep since that was several years ago. Since I couldn’t remember them all at once, I waited until I could list most of them.

* AutoHotKey - I want this to create an auto-correct that is system-wide. Under Windows such a script is accessible to all applications. Attempts have been made and failed. The original developer seems to be not interested in porting AHK to Linux. AHK is easy to use. The script file is a simple text file with a special file extension that AHK recognizes. This makes it easy to maintain the auto-correct list.
https://www.autohotkey.com/boards/viewt ... ilit=linux

* The Sims - There was never a Linux version. Considering what I have seen artists do with Blender, a similar game for Linux (or all operating systems) with 3D characters like in Sims 2 could be done. As long as it isn’t done with those scary rubber-faced people. Also tools that could be used to edit /make characters, animations, behaviors and objects without restrictions.

file renamer - The ones I have found for Linux just don’t have what it takes. The one that I liked was Ken Renamer from Kensoft, but it’s been abandoned and was Windows only. Danaav has a good file renamer, but not for Linux.

* Lingoes - Yes, there is a lame Linux program that does the same thing. That’s the problem. Lots of unrealized potential. Using the online translators is fine only if you are going to use them once in a while for single words or short phrases. If you have a large project they will lock up--either there is a long pause between entering and translating, or they quit functioning altogether. I have all of these dictionaries of various languages downloaded sitting in my archives folder. It seems to me that the dictionary databases that the online translators use couldn’t be much better that the ones I’ve downloaded. They may even be the same. So why should anyone need to go online to have their text translated? Also, in Michigan, all ISPs have to go through AT&T now. Whenever, I am very active doing research on the Internet, all of a sudden the connection will drop. If I had a translator offline, I wouldn’t have that problem.

It would also be nice to have a text-to-speech option. I find it difficult to learn languages when I have no sound to associate with the words. For this Linux would need something a lot better than Microsoft’s text-to-speech. Cepstral has nice voices that are affordable, but they have none for Linux and are limited to the four or five European languages.

* Flash Player - Not just one for Linux. Something that doesn’t have the security vulnerabilities that the Shockwave Flash files do. I am not sure, but it seems to me that many, if not all, of the vulnerabilities are associated with features that are not really necessary, but no one want to give up because they are used for advertising or marketing purposes. (Creating external links to a site for example.)

* Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator - It was so easy to use. I had a new keyboard layout in a couple of days. It took me that long only because of tweaking to make adjustments as to what characters to include and what keys to use to do it. I installed a program that was supposed to provide an interface with , but I have yet to find out how to access it. It’s one of those programs that doesn’t show up on the desktop, main menu, context menu or the list of applications to use. If you cannot find an application to open it, it’s useless.

Meanwhile, I have a keyboard layout that I like (for the time being), but I cannot use it on Linux because its a Windows-only file. It also does not use the GrAlt key.

* illustration - I have yet to find any art program that I like. Basically I would like a program similar to Serif Photo Plus which was a affordable alternative to Jask PaintShop. I can’t figure out how to use Gimp and some features that I use, seems to be missing or work completely different from what I expect and need them to (adding text for example). All the other art programs available in the Software Manager have missing features as well. Some of them seem to be very old.

* data base - I have yet to find a database program that I like even in Windows. For one thing, it should be easy to transfer a spreadsheet directly into the database. This is the one thing I liked about Microsoft Works, but someone pointed out that the Works database module wasn’t a real database. I think the thing I liked most about the Works database was you had a sort of WYSIWYG feature to see your output formatted the way it should look on your screen. I have yet to see that in OpenOffice.

games - All of the games I find in the Software Manager there just isn’t a wide selection. Many of them seem archaic. Even online it’s difficult finding any games for Linux of the same quality as you would find for Windows or Mac. Considering that Linux has Blender, I don’t understand why this should be. Unless all of that fantastic 3D Blender artwork that I see on Facebook is from Blender for Windows.
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Re: Language Flexiblility

Post by janhostdk »

I see some of my own problems through linux distros in this thread. fresh installs, new partitions

I always make 2 users

1 adm english ,i usually log in to this when i need help or run softwaremanager or installations
and to be able to follow help (usually comes in english)) without having to translate constantly

1 danish (native) desktop user for regular use

Sooner or later i get in to trouble with this combo
there is a red cross on danish user update manager (understandable when its a desktop user and wrong lang for system)
it CAN turn green and you can activate and use it with troubles to follow
I have to remember NEVER press apply system-wide in settings beside when i am logged in to adm user

interresting alternatives for lang. use from xenopeek
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Re: Language Flexiblility

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White Phoenix wrote: * illustration - I have yet to find any art program that I like. Basically I would like a program similar to Serif Photo Plus which was a affordable alternative to Jask PaintShop. I can’t figure out how to use Gimp and some features that I use, seems to be missing or work completely different from what I expect and need them to (adding text for example). All the other art programs available in the Software Manager have missing features as well. Some of them seem to be very old.

* data base - I have yet to find a database program that I like even in Windows. For one thing, it should be easy to transfer a spreadsheet directly into the database. This is the one thing I liked about Microsoft Works, but someone pointed out that the Works database module wasn’t a real database. I think the thing I liked most about the Works database was you had a sort of WYSIWYG feature to see your output formatted the way it should look on your screen. I have yet to see that in OpenOffice.

games - All of the games I find in the Software Manager there just isn’t a wide selection. Many of them seem archaic. Even online it’s difficult finding any games for Linux of the same quality as you would find for Windows or Mac. Considering that Linux has Blender, I don’t understand why this should be. Unless all of that fantastic 3D Blender artwork that I see on Facebook is from Blender for Windows.
Hi!

:mrgreen: Illustration: Try LibreOffice Draw (you need some hours to check all the features...) - the GIMP-side has a "photoshop"-script that changes the paletts. Voilà!
:mrgreen: WYSIWYG on Windows... :oops: :oops: You mean that as a joke or not... .... ? Try LibreOffice Writer (you need some hours to check all the features...)
:mrgreen: Games: Blender IS NOT A GAME :oops: :oops: :oops: Try Blender (you need some weeks to check all the features...)
:mrgreen: Layout: Try scribus (you need some hours to check all the features...)

Yes, I agree with you - Windows is for gaming... :lol:

By the way: I have transfered some beautiful OTF-Typefonts from the (non-free) Adobe library... fine typography is no problem on Linux (try Scribus...) and you should install unifont.ttf

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